The initial tingly feeling in the ends of our fingers following the opening keynote of the inaugural Sirius Decisions Technology Exchange in San Francisco on Nov 19th never fully faded as we threw ourselves full-heart into the swing of things in the rest of the engaging marketing technology-focused speaker sessions and the vendor marketplace.
There was a lot that the Sirius Decisions analysts and their guests covered, so we’ve compiled a collection of our top 5 takeaways for those of you who couldn’t make it (and for those of you who were so overwhelmed by all the great info that you need a refresher.)
5 More Takeaways from #SDTechX 2015
- Sales, Marketing and Product alignment is a moving target so it requires a constant effort of reassessment and recalibration.
Imagine playing soccer and someone picks up the net and moves it. Now imagine that soccer net has not only been moved, but has been changed to a basketball net.
As SiriusDecision’s Jacques Begin explained in his session on Building the Aligned b-to-b Infrastructure, when it comes to infrastructure alignment, the targets are constantly moving and changing. To meet this challenge, he recommends that organizations have standard procurement processes in place, include the corporate vision in the process, and “don’t boil the ocean, boil the pond”. Because while alignment increases revenue and profitability, over-alignment, or trying to align every single piece of the puzzle, slows everything down and causes losses in productivity and value.
- In marketing technology, CMOs and CIOs can work in partnership toward the common goal of customer success.
When CMO of Plex Systems Heidi Melin and her CIO colleague Chris Pesola took the stage, they weren’t wearing boxing gloves as I had half-expected. (Marketers have vivid imaginations.) But of course, why would they be? As they went on to share, CMOs’ becoming more involved in the selection and implementation of their marketing infrastructure is no reason that IT shouldn’t also be involved.
When it comes to forging the CIO/CMO partnership, there were a few recommendations that Heidi and Chris made, including treating data as an enterprise asset (smart) and learning to speak each others’ languages (MQL, SAL, SSO, anyone?). But the last, and one that we at Allocadia are particularly conscious of because it’s a core tenet for us, is to focus on customer success. At the end of the day, the Marketing and IT teams are working toward the same goal, which is to create the happiest customers possible. Sometimes it can be easy to get bogged down by details but as long as we keep that vision in sight, it can keep us safe from CMO/CIO showdowns.
She also shared an entertaining video of customer Sanders Candy which made us chuckle and crave salted caramel chocolates in a big way (which were distributed afterwards – lucky us!).
- The Ikea Principle of Life also applies to martech: If it’s hard, you’re probably doing it wrong.
We’ve all been in that situation (usually at 1 in the morning): you’ve unpacked the box, laid out your tools and think you’ve got all the right pieces in the right order… but no matter how hard you turn that little Allen key, that one darn screw just won’t turn.
Amy Larsen, Director of Demand Generation at Siemens, said during the track session on Operationalizing Personas that if your lead management and nurture processes feel difficult, stop and think. Clean data is the key to success and when clean data plus proper planning are put into place, that is, identifying your personas and catering to their specific needs, the results are higher content engagement that is quantifiable – to the tune of up to 200% increased effectiveness.
Now if only that Ikea cabinet could be 200% faster to put together….
- When considering whether your org really needs that new technology, it’s critical to not get distracted by the shiny new object and instead focus on capabilities.
Does your organization REALLY need that new technology? SiriusDecisions’ Gil Canare and Bruce Brien opened up the conversation by saying that indeed, bright shiny object is real. In fact, 25% of the audience polled admitted that they chase the latest trend when making technology purchases. But not to fear, because Gil and Bruce were there to vaccinate us.
The crux of the matter, they say, is how many of us are viewing marketing technology. Rather than a technology view, we have to take a capabilities view. In other words, we need to look at martech in terms of what it can do for us, and understand the difference.
It gets tricky because technology categories are starting to merge. Within what used to be a few main technologies just a few years ago – web content management, marketing automation platform, sales force automation – today we see more and more capabilities, which means there is often an overlap.
But there is a way to make rational buy/no-buy decisions. Gil and Bruce recommend the following steps:
1 – Decompose the tech to fit its component capabilities, i.e. see if there are capabilities you already have, identify the new capabilities;
2 – Evaluate each capability independently;
3 – Make a decision on balance of positives and negatives, as well as cost and complexity.
So the next time your CEO spends four hours on a plane sitting next to a very persuasive sales person and, upon landing, sends a message to the team to immediately evaluate this shiny new tech, just put on your shades.
- Be bold, be diligent, be original in your search for the marketing technologist for your organization… but don’t look for a fire-breathing unicorn.
When surrounded by so many vendors and so much interesting talk about how to choose and implement marketing technologies, it might be easy to lose sight of the one key element of a successful martech strategy: your people.
As T. Baxter Denney, VP Online Marketing and Operations at New Relic rightly stated in his session Finding the Right Technologist DNA, it takes a special kind of person to not only find the right mix of martech ingredients but blend them together in just the right way. But in their search for just the right person for the challenge, Marketing Operations job descriptions usually call for an impossible combination of skills in technologies which didn’t even exist until recently. What people are looking for isn’t realistic, which turns the MOps search into a search for a magical fire-breathing unicorn. And the worst part is – everyone is looking for them.
We should never again ask questions like: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tell me a time when you… or What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Rather, ask questions like: What’s your most interesting project outside of work? What metric do you wish you could track and how would you do it? And, What app do you love/hate and why?
By asking these questions and sticking to a PHACE framework for the MOps talent search (Proactive, Hacky, Analytical, Connected, Empathetic), companies can find the technologist that doesn’t have to be magical, but can indeed work magic.
And finally, what’s a tech event without a fun tech giveaway? During SDTechX, we challenged attendees to tweet a selfie at our booth to enter a draw to win a Pebble Smartwatch and the winner is….
— Angie Hon (@angiehon) November 20, 2015
It was an exciting inaugural SDTechX event for us Allocadians and we’re already looking forward to the next Sirius Decisions Summit in Nashville next spring.
If you missed us at the event and didn’t pick one up in person, get your Marketing Ops manifesto for free here.